Sharing Christ’s Love through Word & Deed | the Reach February 2024

Dear Friends,

The smell of unwashed bodies in too-close quarters filled the room. Elena* lay with her child pressed close to her, trying to surrender to the sleep she so desperately needed. She swallowed the lump in her throat, barely keeping her head above the despair that threatened to drown her. She was in a foreign country, sharing a one-room apartment with five other families, and uncertain if her husband was going to return to her. Her thoughts fixed on her urgent need to find employment and a new place to live.

It was in this condition that Elena connected with the GROW center from the Philemon Project, an early childhood development and adult mentoring program in the Middle East. Elena had no one else to turn to, but in her time of need, the group of women who ran the GROW center came alongside her in support and love.

Over the next several months, while her child was safely cared for and fed each day at the GROW center, Elena was able to find a stable job and safe housing for her and her child. Her husband did return, and they established a new life as a family. She felt that the women from the Philemon Project were the only ones to help when she had no other options. Because of the Christ-like love of these women and their faithful prayers, Elena also decided to follow Jesus.

This was just one story shared at the annual gathering of U.S. World Outreach workers in early February. The gathering was a time for fellowship, worship, and sharing the stories of what God is doing around the world.

As I sat there listening to this story, I couldn’t help but think about the practical love the women from the GROW center showed Elena and the eternal impact it will have. Elena had tangible and urgent needs, and the GROW center stood in the gap as she found her footing in a new environment.

The mission and work of the GROW center and the Philemon Project align with World Outreach’s five Strategic Priorities:

  1. Prayer
  2. Least Access Peoples
  3. Partnership & Sending
  4. Word & Deed
  5. Church Engagement

Read more about these here.

Elena’s story is a beautiful example of the Word & Deed priority. The church is called to a holistic approach to making disciples – we cannot be effective in ministry without caring for the physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing of those we serve. The gospel is proclaimed by words and lived out through actions.

Those running the GROW center know this. They are not simply providing daycare, they are teaching and nurturing these children, and by extension, these families. Their care is life changing for the entire family, and this is just as important in reaching people for Jesus as teaching His word.

Loving your neighbor does not require special training or education – it requires a servant’s attitude and an infectious love for Jesus. How can you carry out the Great Commission in Word & Deed as you go about your day-to-day?

*names changed for privacy and security purposes

Upcoming Opportunities for You and Your Congregation

Pray for WO Workers

Join the EPC World Outreach Prayer Network to care for our workers through intercession. To join the network, click here.

Support WO Workers

Support the GROW Center here. Otherwise click the SUPPORT button for the WO worker support landing page.

Partner with WO

There are many ways you can partner with World Outreach! Learn more by clicking here.

Singing Jesus’s Birth | the Reach December 2023

Dear friends,

It seems like everybody sings in Luke’s story of Jesus’ birth: Mary sings (1:46-55), Zechariah sings (1:68-79), the angels sing (2:13-14), and finally, Simeon adds a chorus (2:28-32). So much singing.

From our distant 21st century American vantage point, we might be surprised to hear individuals break into song at significant moments like these—unless we’re fans of the great Broadway musicals! But I live in Nairobi, and as my Kenyan friend Elizabeth Mburu wrote in her book African Hermeneutics, “Song is the genre that best represents the heartbeat of African peoples. Whether in our traditional or modern contexts, songs are never far from our lips. What is a wedding without songs of rejoicing? Or a funeral without songs to express our sorrow? How else would politicians express their political agenda except through songs and poetry? . . . This feature of life has not changed in modern Africa” (p. 166).

Songs are everywhere in Africa, even today. Liz Mburu reminds us that “the culture of the Bible resembles African culture in so many ways” (p. 6). Even spontaneous songs in Africa can be very personal, with someone expressing their own experience and perspective through music. Likewise, have you noticed the incremental changes in emphasis from Mary’s song to Zechariah’s song to Simeon’s song?

Read Luke 1:46-55. Do you see how Mary emphasizes God fulfilling his promises to rescue his poor and lowly people from the oppression they’ve faced? “He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty” (vv. 52-53). There’s nothing in this song about sin, there’s nothing in here about forgiveness, there’s nothing in here about eternity in heaven. But there’s a lot about mercy and justice. A powerful deliverer is coming!

Now read Luke 1:68-79. If it feels like a good bit of repetition from what Mary said, you’re right. When I moved to Ethiopia, I was impatient in meetings when each person seemed to repeat what the previous person had just said. To me it seemed like a waste of time! But then I learned how the repetition—enhanced by small changes and additions that each speaker made—built consensus and led to unity in Ethiopian decision-making. Yes, in Zechariah’s song we hear again about promised rescue, about mercy and righteousness (or justice, the same word in Greek). But the small thing that Zechariah adds comes in verses 76-77, that Zechariah’s son John “will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people by the forgiveness of their sins.” Now we hear a whisper of something significant and new! Not only is a powerful deliverer coming, but one who brings forgiveness of sins.

Finally, read Luke 2:28-32. What does Simeon add to the chorus? In verse 32 he announces that this baby will become “a light for revelation to the Gentiles.” Simeon is quoting Isaiah 49:6: “It is too light a thing [or, ‘too small a thing’] that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the survivors of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” In Isaiah 49 the intended servant was most likely Israel as a nation. But Israel did not manage to take God’s message of salvation to the Gentiles or to ends of the earth. Now, Simeon adds, that’s what this baby will do. He’s the servant, a powerful deliverer, who brings forgiveness of sin—to the whole world!

A powerful deliverer who brings forgiveness of sin to the whole world. It takes three songs to fill out this picture of Jesus in Luke’s story. What about your own song? What have you personally found to be true and essential about Jesus that you’d like to add to the chorus as you sing his birth this Christmas?

© 2023 Stephanie L. Black

Rev. Dr. Stephanie Black is an International Theological Education Specialist serving under a co-op agreement with Serge. Based in Kenya, she travels to Asia and elsewhere in Africa to teach in theological seminaries, help develop programs, and strengthen partnerships. With a heart to train the next generation of leaders for the global church, Stephanie is a gifted educator, leader, and life-long learner. We are so glad to have her in the WO family.

Upcoming Opportunities for You and Your Congregation

Pray for WO Workers

Join the EPC World Outreach Prayer Network to care for our workers through intercession. To join the network, click here.

Support WO Workers

Attention Donors! If you give a recurring gift, we are transitioning online giving platforms. We need your help with the transition. Find instructions to transition systems here.

Partner with WO

There are many ways you can partner with World Outreach! Learn more by clicking here.

God’s Faithfulness in the Planting and Watering | the Reach Nov 2022

Dear friends,

EPC WO global workers, S and C*, work with teammates that minister through a Christian bookstore in an area that is typical of traditional South Asia. People often come in to look at the books, talk, and discuss faith. S serves with these teammates by working in the bookshop a couple days a week. 

Seven years ago, a man, Sanjay*, came into the bookshop and threatened to blow it up because it was Christian. One of S and C’s teammates, Amal*, was there and, after this occasion, watched everyday for him to return. The next time Amal saw Sanjay outside near the shop, he invited him in for tea. Amal told Sanjay that even if he were to follow through with his threat, Amal was not afraid to die because he believed in Jesus. Rather, Amal was afraid for Sanjay’s soul, should he kill people. Over many years the bookstore remained, and their conversations continued. Amal would invite Sanjay for tea and share about the gospel.

A year ago, as the world was emerging from COVID, Sanjay returned to the bookshop. S was working and struck up a conversation with him. Sanjay was fascinated with America and enjoyed conversing and asking questions. He shared with S that he no longer believed in Islam and was searching for truth. S invited Sanjay to start reading the Bible with him – and Sanjay agreed! Recently, Sanjay came into the store and said he believed and would like to be called a Christian. 

We see here how God uses each of us; how some are doing the watering where others have put in the hard work of preparing the field and planting. Many of S and C’s interactions are made possible because of the years of investment in relationship within the community. For these global workers, it is humbling to be a part of this ministry and to be used by God alongside other believers. God is faithful in the planting and the watering. 

*Names removed or changed for security purposes.

Upcoming Opportunities for You and Your Congregation

Pray for WO Workers

Join the EPC World Outreach Prayer Network to care for our workers through intercession. To join the network, click here.

Support WO Workers

If S and C’s story resonated with you, we encourage you to prayerfully consider supporting them financially in this kingdom work. To do so, please click here. To receive their prayer updates, please email the WO Office.

Partner with WO

There are many ways you can partner with World Outreach! Learn more by clicking here.

A Step Of Yes | The Reach October 2022

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your PARTNERSHIP in the GOSPEL from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. 
Philippians 1:3-6

Dear friends,

One of my favorite poems over the past few years has been the well-known one by Robert Frost – The Road Not Taken. In it, Frost speaks about two roads diverging in a yellow wood and being regretful that he could not travel both. In some ways, my family and I have been standing at that proverbial fork in the road the last couple of months, longing to travel down both roads and questioning God about what our next path will be. Unlike Frost, perhaps, we have comfort knowing that God guides us down each road we take as we seek Him and follow His will. He is both sovereign and He is good.
It is with a mixture of joy and sadness that we bring the news that my family will be transitioning out of World Outreach at the end of this month. We are joy-filled because it is the LORD who calls us elsewhere, and we trust in His goodness and sovereignty.  But we are sad to come to the close of this rich season of partnership in the gospel.  This has not been an easy decision for us but one we have toiled over in hours of prayer and in concert with community.  With the LORD’s leading, we have decided to accept our local church’s call to enter pastoral ministry with opportunities to expand our local congregation’s global vision for the nations.
These past years working with World Outreach and getting to know so many of you has blessed and shaped me in many positive ways. We are a denomination that is full of gracious and obedient living in sincere partnership to each other. You all have taught me what it means “to count others more significant than yourselves,” in the ways you support and pray for our sent-ones of Gospel proclamation. Through my work with EPCWO, my vision for what it means to have a sharp focus on those with least access to the Gospel has increased. This will be a leading guide as I move on with a grateful heart for the honor its been serving the EPC in this role.

As our paths diverge for a season now, I am confident that our sovereign LORD will continue to use us all for His glory and even bring our paths together again for the sake of the Nations. I find it fitting in my spirit that a great saint, who passed onto the other side of the veil recently, left us this charge when we are standing, perhaps, at a fork in the road:

Let us all continue to take those steps of “yes” to further God’s Kingdom and see all peoples worshipping and following Jesus!

Grace, peace, and much love.

Jason Dunn
EPC World Outreach Associate Director

If I’m called to step into this role, what will be my greatest asset?
I asked this question 18 months ago during my final interview with the search committee before joining EPC World Outreach. A two-word answer came back to me, “Jason Dunn.” That answer has been validated repeatedly since my first day on the job. To work alongside like-minded, passionate people aligned with the greatest cause in the history of mankind, the fulfillment of the Great Commission, is all I’ve ever wanted to do since my freshman year in college. The Lord has been gracious to allow me to work with great, godly, talented men and women over the years and while I expected that to be true here in World Outreach, I didn’t have to wait a single minute to experience it through Jason. I thank the Lord for the time we’ve had to strive side-by-side for the faith of the gospel. As you read his announcement to follow God’s call to serve elsewhere you might experience the same mix of emotions that I had, sadness to part ways, but excitement for the opportunities God has in store for them. The contribution he has made, the investment in kingdom work and into the lives of all of us at WO and the EPC brings glory to His name and will bear fruit for years to come and into eternity. To God and to Jason I only have two words, Thank You!
Gabriel de Guia
EPC World Outreach Executive Director

Upcoming Opportunities for You and Your Congregation

Annual Report

Learn more about what we’ve been up to by reading our Annual Report for 2021!

Master Plan

Read our new master plan, approved at the 2022 General Assembly. 

Partner with WO

Learn more about how you can partner with World Outreach by clicking the button below.

World Outreach Annual Report | The Reach August 2022

Dear friends,

Catching divine glimpses into the work God is doing in and through EPC World Outreach has been an incredible privilege.

A significant focus this year since stepping into my role has been the development of the new World Outreach master plan and mission statement. The process used in drafting this version was unique in its history with extensive research and engagement utilized in order to involve WO global workers, key stakeholders, mission leaders, the World Outreach Committee (WOC) and the National Leadership Team (NLT). It was a seven-month, prayer-filled process, discerning the Lord’s continued call for us.

In the Annual Report, you’ll learn more about EPC World Outreach through numerical snapshots of what God is doing through our global work. You’ll also find three stories that capture the heart of our 5 strategic priorities of Prayer, Least Access Peoples, Partnership and Sending, Word and Deed, and Church Engagement. They are but a sampling of the faithfulness of our God, our global workers in their call and our EPC church partners.

May this booklet honor the Lord as we “Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised.” – Psalm 96:3,4.

We at EPC World Outreach are honored to serve the Church and are grateful for the opportunity to link arms together with you in helping fulfill the Great Commission, looking toward the day where we see representatives of every tongue, tribe, and nation following Jesus and worshipping before God’s throne.

Grace and peace, 
Gabriel de Guia, EPC WO Executive Director

An Agent of Unity | the Reach April 2022

Dear friends,

I am thrilled to announce that after meeting with the World Outreach Committee and the National Leadership Team last week, both have officially recommended that the newest version of the World Outreach Master Plan be brought to the 2022 General Assembly for approval.

What is the World Outreach Master Plan you ask?

If you didn’t know, this is a governing document revised and brought before the GA every 3-5 years. We’re approaching 6 years since the last one. After hundreds of prayer-filled man hours over the last seven months, gathering input from key stakeholders, global workers, missions leaders, the World Outreach Committee, and the National Leadership Team, the Proposed Master Plan defines our mission and how we will serve the denomination in her calling to help fulfill the Great Commission. While simple, this document bears the weight of everyone who worked on it, prayed for it, and represents it in real-life ministry in the field. It also bears the weight of everyone who has gone before and built the history and foundation on which we stand.

As you familiarize yourself with it (link below), I invite you to pray that God would graciously use this as an agent of unity at General Assembly and the EPC for years to come.

While this document may be a fresh version, it’s composed of values and priorities that have been true and are being lived out. One recent example I’d like to highlight is related to “Church Engagement,” found in the Strategic Priorities section. In August, as Afghanistan was falling and a surge of refugees fled, God was preparing generous hearts within our EPC family. In November, World Outreach workers who had spent nearly two decades ministering in Afghanistan (and continue that work among Afghans in the US), alerted us to an opportunity – the need for Christian materials.

The Scriptures in Dari and Afghan Pashtun, a translation which they had worked on and recently completed, were desperately needed. Once out of reach because the translation didn’t exist; out of reach because of physical distance; now in the blink of an eye, both barriers removed for millions of Afghans. Eleven EPC churches and two families gave toward this effort to birth the first 10,000 print copies into existence. “Physical needs, food, water, clothing, are critical, but being able to give the word of God in their heart language is a gift that can last forever. And now we can,” said our WO workers.

There are many other stories of EPC churches currently engaged in ministry with Afghans. May we continue to lean into the opportunities God provides in faith as we live out the strategic priorities the Lord has given us.
Grateful to serve with you to help fulfill the Great Commission,
Gabriel de Guia
Executive Director, EPC World Outreach

Community Life

Muslim Ministry Network

Are you connecting with your Muslim neighbor through friendship, community assistance, or by teaching English? Do you want to meet others who are doing the same things? If so, we are looking for you! Click here for more information.

Spread the Good News

If you feel called to support WO workers and ministry partners here and abroad, consider giving to the U.S. Muslim Ministries Project and the International Disaster Relief Fund. These funds are used to reach and support those in need, sharing the love of Christ.